Posts filed under ‘Travel’
April 19. Saturday.
I’m not sure how it happened, but we didn’t turn in ’til 3AM.
The wedding was a kick. Jason’s brother, Jake, reeled in the grammy-nominated cajun band, The Lost Bayou Ramblers. Jambalaya, shrimp etouffee, grits, bread pudding, and ginger mint juleps topped the menu.
True to the cajun tradition, Jason and Miranda jumped the broom. From what I’m told, this is an old tradition from an age when ministers were not available. As a symbol of the couple’s bond, they would jump over a broom together. Wiki this for accuracy. I’m rolling with this explanation for now.
We closed at the Spotted Cat on Frenchman Street. Cool jazz band with a trombonist as the lead.
April 18. Friday.
I’m not sure how it happened, but we didn’t turn in ’til 3AM. We had dinner at a favorite uptown spot, Jacques-Imo’s, and then met the wedding posse at Mid-City Lanes Rock and Bowl. If you haven’t been here, it’s an old skool classic. The ball return is the only automated feature, and it’s an early version of that technology. Scoring is done by hand, and bowling is done with beers. The band plays alongside while the dance floor hops. Clockwork Elvis was the headliner. Yep, lead singer wearing a derby while singing Elvis covers. Quite good actually.
April 18. Friday.
We rolled out of Ville Platte with a trunk full of whiskey and a double-barreled shotgun. Six police cars were hot in pursuit, but the big rig ahead of us had his radio on and said it was clear all the way to Panama City.
Actually, Stephen, Mary, Cindy, and I loaded up the car and stopped at Stephen’s aunt’s house on the way out of town. We spent a few minutes catching up with her and hearing about various family members (her son was a world class bowler). She has an incredible piece of property in Ville Platte, and it looked even more amazing as a rain storm passed through nearly leaving us drenched. From there, it was straight to New Orleans unless you consider our coffee and beignet fix in Lafayette.
The next event on the Bayou wedding agenda was a crawfish boil in New Orleans’ Audubon Park. We showed up with a washerboard to complement the two other washerboards brought in from Ville Platte. The weather called for rain, but it evaded us. …and then it rained crawfish.
Thursday, April 17. Evening.
After a margarita cocktail hour, Stephen’s mother, Miss Yvonne proclaimed, “If I drink all of this, I’ll be taking us to the Pig Stand. My hair is standing on end!” We took that as our cue to head to the Little League fields.
Last season, Ville Platte’s Little League team was runner-up in the Southern Championship series, the Dixie Cup. Stephen’s nephew, Evan, was the catcher for the team, and also has quite a bat. Much of the town turns out for these games, and it’s a common place for the locals to catch-up and see one another.
Thursday. April 17.
Now that our ethanol-inebriated corn farmers are driving up world food prices, might I suggest that we consider the nutritional value of the Louisiana mud bug. Yep, crawfish. It ain’t just for breakfast anymore. In Ville Platte, Louisiana, the king of crawfish is a man named Weelo. No one seems to know where this nickname began, but Weelo is actually Weelo “junior”. His father is also named Weelo. Here’s his father’s store:
On Thursday, Weelo was kind enough to give us a tour of his acres and acres of crawfish and rice fields. I don’t know what the price of corn is, but crawfish prices are going down and Weelo is selling 200 bags per day. This was a great local tour. It may not be as eventful as an airboat tour, but Weelo did recently find a gator in his crawfish field (first time in 20 years).
There is some possibility that the majority of the party was hungover on Wednesday morning. I saw few early-risers, and Jason’s washerboard game was less than impressive. I think he proclaimed his need for a nap shortly thereafter.
Regardless, Wednesday was about a pig roast, and to stay on the right side of politics, I will simply say that there was little question as to whom would do the cooking. Stephen’s father, Mr. C.J., went to the auction and purchased an 80 lbs. pig (see my post Late Already). He took it to slaughter, and then seasoned and prepped it himself. Stephen and I picked up the pig in this condition:
Folks in this part of the country roast their pigs in a tomb known as a Cajun Microwave. Mr. C.J.’s was built for him 30 years ago by a lumber company, and he has cooked 5 or 6 pigs per year. You no longer have to have them built nor build them yourself. Around here, you can pick one up at a hardware store.
This pig roasted away for 4 hours while we threw washers and drank. Dinner was ready by 5pm. The process of prepping, turninging, and serving the pig follows in the gallery, but let’s jump to the winning photo. This is the lovely bride, Miranda, demonstrating the proper technique for eating a pig tail.
April 15. Nightfall.
We got the place warmed up in anticipation of a major Cajun dance fest that was going down that weekend. The groom, Jason, bought 2 bags of oysters in New Orleans and brought them to the park. Raw, Barbequed, with sauce, without sauce…. the oysters were delectable. Jason’s friend, Merrill, rolled in from Houston with at least one insulated bag of micro-brews. Incredibly, the bag seemed to be full for the entire week. Jason’s father, Mr. Ronnie, topped it all off with his Sauce Piquant, a delicious roux-based concoction complete with tasso (sausage) and chicken. Mr. Ronnie worked that pot for 4 or 5 hours. Perfection.